Administration Officials Say ‘Criminals,’ While Their Memos Say No One is Exempt
Washington, DC – Leading editorial boards are condemning the Trump Administration’s detailed blueprint for mass deportation laid out in the new DHS implementation memos on immigration enforcement.
Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, said “The White House and DHS continue to hope for the fog of war to cloak their all-out assault on the facts, the truth and the fate of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country. Many observers understand what is at stake; many simply don’t. The Administration’s actions are not simply to enforce the laws we have; the actions are purposeful, spiteful and contrary to the wishes of the majority of the American people. That is why the cloak: to hide the truth from Americans who want a path to legalization, not a path to deportation.”
Despite attempts by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and DHS officials to minimize the scope and implications of the mass deportation vision, the below editorials show that key editorial voices in both English and Spanish language newspapers are seeing through the Trump Administration’s denials and obfuscations and are clear-eyed about what’s at stake for 11 million undocumented immigrants who work and live in America:
New York Times editorial, “Mr. Trump’s ‘Deportation Force’ Prepares an Assault on American Values”
“The homeland security secretary, John Kelly, issued a remarkable pair of memos on Tuesday. They are the battle plan for the “deportation force” President Trump promised in the campaign. They are remarkable for how completely they turn sensible immigration policies upside down and backward. For how they seek to make the deportation machinery more extreme and frightening (and expensive), to the detriment of deeply held American values.
A quick flashback: The Obama administration recognized that millions of unauthorized immigrants, especially those with citizen children and strong ties to their communities and this country, deserved a chance to stay and get right with the law. It tried to focus on deporting dangerous criminals, national-security threats and recent border crossers.
Mr. Kelly has swept away those notions. He makes practically every deportable person a deportation priority. He wants everybody, starting with those who have been convicted of any crime, no matter how petty or old. Proportionality, discretion, the idea that some convictions are unjust, the principles behind criminal-justice reform — these concepts do not apply. The targets now don’t even have to be criminals. They could simply have been accused of a crime (that is, still presumed “innocent”) or have done something that makes an immigration agent believe that they might possibly face charges.
…He plans to publish data on crimes committed by unauthorized immigrants, and to identify state and local jurisdictions that release immigrants from custody. Why? To promote the false idea, as Mr. Trump has shamefully done, that immigrants pose particular safety risks and to punish so-called sanctuary cities that, for reasons of public order and decency, are trying to disconnect themselves from ICE.
This is how Mr. Trump’s rantings about “bad hombres” and alien rapist terrorists have now been weaponized, in cold bureaucratic language. Mr. Kelly promised before his confirmation to be a reasonable enforcer of defensible policies. But immigrants have reason to be frightened by his sudden alignment with Mr. Trump’s nativism. So does every American who believes that the country is, or should be, committed to the sensible, proportionate application of laws, welcoming to immigrants, and respectful of the facts.”
Washington Post editorial, “The Trump Administration’s Blueprint for Mass Removals, with a Streak of Cruelty”
“In the fiscal year that ended last fall, the number of undocumented immigrants apprehended on the southwestern border was just a quarter the number in 2000 and less than half the annual count during most of George W. Bush’s administration. Although last year’s apprehensions in the Southwest rose from the previous year — largely because of unaccompanied minors and families from Central America seeking refugee status — the overall number was among the lowest since the turn of the century.
Nonetheless, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly has somehow conjured what he called a “surge of illegal immigration at the southern border [that] has overwhelmed federal agencies and resources and created a significant national security vulnerability to the United States.” Mr. Kelly’s unfounded rhetoric is contained in a memorandum, released Tuesday, that provides an inventive rationale to justify the Trump administration’s overbroad expansion of deportation efforts. The effect of the new DHS guidelines is to sharply expand the pool of immigrants designated as priorities for deportation.
They do so by various means, including widening the targets of expedited deportation proceedings, until now limited to undocumented immigrants in the country for no more than two weeks and living within 100 miles of the border, to people who entered in the past two years and live anywhere in the nation — a cohort estimated at 800,000 to 1.1 million people. They also target not only people convicted of serious crimes but also those convicted of minor infractions, such as using a false Social Security number to get a job.
The guidelines’ subsidiary effects are just as concerning. They compromise law enforcement efforts in counties and cities nationwide by expanding efforts to deputize local police to act as federal deportation agents. That could chill cooperation between local law enforcement agencies and immigrant neighborhoods. The document sends a message of fear through many of America’s immigrant communities — not just the estimated 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants, but also their spouses, children and other relatives living legally in the United States.
…a streak of cruelty runs through the new policy. For instance, it seeks to deter the entry of unaccompanied minors by threatening to prosecute parents if they paid smugglers to help their children cross the border. Deterrence is a fair goal if achieved by humane means. In this case, the administration’s policies will break up families and harm people leading peaceable lives.”
USA Today editorial, “Immigration crackdown — reality check”
“No one who listened to Donald Trump’s campaign speeches should be surprised by recent immigration raids across the country or the tough new policies announcedTuesday.
President Trump’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants will cast a far wider net than President Obama’s did, though Obama deported more immigrants than any other president. The new guidelines could potentially ensnare millions of immigrants who entered the United States illegally but since then have abided by the law, worked for a living and raised families in a country they now call home. To the extent that the policies place these immigrants in fear, break up families and leave children to fend for themselves, they are wrongheaded and unnecessarily cruel. Only more time and more actions will clarify just how harsh the written policies will be when executed by enforcement authorities.
…It broadens the categories of undocumented immigrants who will be targets and increases the number who can be deported without hearings. Deporting immigrants who pose a danger because they’ve been convicted of serious crimes makes sense … But the policy announced Tuesdaythreatens people who’ve previously had little to fear: People who’ve committed misdemeanors, say shoplifting or traffic violations. People charged but not yet tried, who under our system are viewed as innocent until proven guilty. People whom authorities encounter and consider a threat, an absurdly broad category.”
La Opinión editorial “Power to Deport”
“Sure, there are undocumented immigrants who are dangerous criminals and deserve to be deported. But these guidelines go beyond a minority of individuals. Their inadequate content and worse implementation constitute a threat to millions of honest workers and their families” (translation by America’s Voice Education Fund).
And the front pages of three major Spanish language newspapers and the largest Spanish language news portal, coast-to-coast, highlight the dangerous implications of the new mass deportation guidelines (finalizing links below)
- La Opinión (CA), “Fearing open season on the undocumented”
- El Nuevo Herald (FL), “Against the wall: It would be easier to deport the undocumented”
- El Diario- La Prensa (NY), “#TrumpEra: More power to ‘La Migra’”
- And Univision highlights, “The New U.S. Guidelines for the Mass Deportation of Undocumented Immigrants”
America’s Voice Education Fund – Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform
@FrankSharry and @AmericasVoice